Tonight saw the opening of The Dock, the space transformed by artist David Shearing, into a platform for some of the festivals most anticipated events. In the uncharacteristically warm spring night, the space which usually appears so industrial looked warm and inviting as the crowds gathered throughout the evening.
The bar was fully stocked and the smell of food was wafting through the air, giving the whole stretch of Salford quays that unique festival atmosphere. If you were so inclined, you could even have felt the grass (or synthetic approximation of it) between your toes to fully deliver that summer festival vibe. The space looked great and people seemed to be in high spirits before the entertainment had really even kicked off.
“It looks fantastic”, one gentleman told me, “I’ve been to the Lowry loads of times before but this space… well I’d never even really considered it a space that people would go in before! But it looks so good now”
This was the reaction of the majority of the crowd I spoke to as I floated through the swarths of people, drinks in hand and admiring the scenery.
“It’s quite nice that you’re in this space and you’re looking over this urban landscape! I’ve never been to a festival in a scene dock before, so it’s definitely a unique experience”
The performances this evening were from Star Boy Productions, a show which invites an audience into the world of the 3 African migrants who stand on stage. It explores the clandestine survival tactics, explaining the lengths one can and must go to in order to remain in Europe. The show also attempts to examine the psyche of African migrants in Europe attempting to create a better future for themselves.
The reaction from the crowd was overwhelmingly positive, and the people I caught up with upon leaving The Dock space where the show is performed explained that it was “something totally out of the blue”, and “more enjoyable than I would ever have expected”.
Also on show was the performance of 30 Days Of The Smiths – the much publicised work from Oberman and Knocks which explores members of the Salford public who share the common last name. The effect of their work is a soundscape which paints a picture of each of the people they speak with, and quickly goes to demonstrate that people are much more than a name – each with their own unique story to tell and thoughts to express.
As I write, the party rumbles on below – and so I shall end on the reflection that although each person interviewed for the Smiths piece might have a common last name, they are all as unique and surprising as a warm dry evening in Salford Quays.